RETURN TO SEARCH RESULTS

Straight Talk About Communication Research Methods

Author(s): Christine S Davis, Kenneth A Lachlan

Edition: 3

Copyright: 2017

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Researchers are like detectives. Both are trying to find something out. Both are asking and answering questions. Both are trying to put together a puzzle to come up with a solution. In both, answering questions leads to more questions. And, in both, seeing patterns is crucial to solving the puzzle.

Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods presents the foundations of research methods, the choices scholars make, and the methodological decisions driving communication scholarship to balance one’s desire to know and inquire into interesting communication questions while instilling an enthusiasm about the process!

Featuring a student friendly writing style, Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods is built on adult learning theory – information is given in small chunks that build upon each other, repeating then expanding knowledge.

Featuring updated information and examples, the new third edition of Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods:

  • Is Modern!  The text includes material on conducting research on, and involving, social and digital media.
  • Is Practical! Examples of how students might use communication research methods in business and industry jobs after graduation are integrated throughout.
  • Is Groundbreaking!  The text features four chapters that summarize new qualitative research methods along with comprehensive instructions on how to conduct these research methods.
  • Is Interactive!  A seamlessly integrated enhanced learning package provides both students and instructors access to online content, interactive exercises and more.

Preface 
Acknowledgments 
About the Authors 

PART 1: INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION RESEARCH 
Chapter 1: What Is Communication Research? 

Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
What Will You Do with the Information You Learn in this Course? 
What Is Research? 
Research 
Communication as Social Research 
Communication as Humanities Research 
Communication as Critical or Cultural Research 
How Is Research Knowledge Distributed? 
Academic Publishing 
Social Dialogue and Public Policy 
Communication in the Popular Press 
How Do We Know What We Know? 
Where Does Knowledge Come From? 
Experience 
Tenacity 
Authority 
Traditions, Customs, and Faith 
Magic, Superstition, and/or Mysticism 
Intuition or Hunches 
A Priori Reasoning 
What’s Wrong with Everyday Ways of Knowing? 
Accuracy 
Overgeneralization 
Cognitive Conservatism 
Contradictory Knowledge 
Scientific Reasoning 
What Do Communication Researchers Do? 
What Specific Areas Do Communication Researchers Study? 
Scholarly Research 
Applied Research 
Nothing as Practical as a Good Theory 
What Are Some Examples of Communication Research? 
Where Do Communication Researchers Study? 
In Businesses and Organizations 
In Media 
In Health Care 
In Interpersonal Interactions 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 2: Metatheoretical Considerations, Research Perspectives, and Research Paradigms 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
What Are the Goals and Methods of Communication Scholars and Everyday Observers? 
Metatheoretical Considerations 
Ontology 
Epistemology 
Axiology 
Research Perspectives and Paradigms 
Positivism 
Interpretivism 
Critical Perspective 
Types of Research 
Proprietary Research 
Scholarly Research 
Characteristics of Scholarly Research 
Two Logical Systems 
Inductive Model 
Deductive Model 
Model of Deduction/Induction 
Qualitative and Quantitative Research 
Qualitative Research 
Quantitative Research 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 3: Discovering What’s Already Known: Library Research 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
What Are the Purposes of Library Research? 
Types of Research 
Primary Research 
Secondary Research 
Phases of Research 
Using Library Research to Come Up with Your Research Question 
Research Sources 
Scholarly Journals 
How Do You Access Scholarly Journals? 
Finding Research Sources Using Search Strategies 
Evaluating Research Sources 
How to Read a Journal Article 
Taking Notes on Research 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 4: Writing a Literature Review 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
What’s the Purpose of a Literature Review? 
What Is a Literature Review? 
Annotated Bibliography versus Synthesis of the Literature 
Organizing the Literature Review 
Citations 
Avoiding Plagiarism 
Writing Styles 
American Psychological Association (APA) Style (6th edition, 2nd printing) 
Body of the Paper 
Reference List 
In-Text Citations 
Modern Language Association (MLA) Style (8th edition) 
Chicago Style (16th edition) 
Common Grammatical Errors 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

PART 2: PREPARING TO CONDUCT RESEARCH 
Chapter 5: Research Questions, Objectives, and Hypotheses 

Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
How Do You Design Good Quality Research through Appropriate Questions and Hypotheses? 
What Are the Functions of Theory, Research Objectives, Research Questions, and Hypotheses? 
What Are Research Objectives? 
How Do You Ask Research Questions? 
Types of Research Questions about Communication 
Questions of Definition 
Questions of Fact 
What Are Research Hypotheses? 
Null Hypotheses 
Forms of Relationships in Hypotheses 
Directional and Nondirectional Hypotheses 
How Do You Set Up Good Research Questions? 
Conceptual Definitions 
Operational Definitions 
What Are the Boundaries of Research Questions and Hypotheses? 
How Is Metatheory Related to Research Questions and Hypotheses? 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 6: Understanding Research Ethics 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
Why Do We Care about Human Subjects Protection? 
How Do We Follow Research Ethics and Ethical Guidelines? 
Respect for Persons and Informed Consent 
Nonmaleficence and Beneficence 
Justice 
Including Participants in Co-Constructed Research 
Ethics in Reporting Findings 
Who Oversees Research Ethics? Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) 
How Do We Maintain Ethics through all Research Phases? 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 7: Understanding Variables 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
What Is the Function of Variables in Communication Research? 
What Is a Variable? 
Revisiting Conceptual and Operational Definitions 
Conceptual Definitions 
Operational Definitions 
Measured Operational Definitions 
Experimental Operational Definitions 
Operationalizing: Matching Your Variables to Your Study 
Conceptual Fit 
Measuring Variables 
Self-Report 
Social Desirability Bias in Self-Report data 
Other Report 
Limitations in Other Reports 
Observing Behavior 
Hawthorne Effect Bias in Observing Behaviors 
Triangulation 
Measurement 
Nominal Level Measurement 
Ordinal Level Measurement 
Interval Level Measurement 
Likert Scale 
Semantic Differential Scale 
Ratio Level Measurement 
Types of Variables 
Independent Variables 
Dependent Variables 
Examples of Independent and Dependent Variables 
Extraneous Variables 
Confounding Variables 
Mediating Variables 
Moderating Variables 
The Different Types of Relationships between Variables 
Reversible and Irreversible Relationships 
Deterministic and Stochastic Relationships 
Sequential and Coextensive Relationships 
Sufficient and Contingent Relationships 
Necessary and Substitutable Relationships 
The Dimensions of Variables 
Unidimensional Concepts 
Multidimensional Concepts 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 8: Understanding Sampling 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
How Important Is Sampling? 
Sampling Theory 
Generalizability and Representation 
Sampling Frame 
Unit of Analysis or Sampling Units 
Sampling in Quantitative Research 
Sampling Methods 
Random Sampling 
Simple Random Sample 
Systematic Random Sample 
Stratified Sample 
Proportional Stratified Sample 
Cluster Sampling 
Nonrandom Sampling 
Convenience Sample 
Volunteer Sample 
Snowball Sampling 
Network Sampling 
Advantages and Disadvantages 
Response Rate and Refusal Rate 
Sample Size and Power 
Sampling in Qualitative Research 
Sampling Methods 
Purposive Sampling 
Quota Sampling 
Maximum Variation Sampling 
Theoretical Construct Sampling 
Typical and Extreme Instance Sampling 
Sample Size and Data Saturation 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 9: Ensuring Validity, Reliability, and Credibility 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
Thinking about the Quality of Your Observations 
What Is Reliable? What Is Valid? What Is Credible? 
Reliability 
Physical and Social Measurement 
Random Error 
Types of Reliability 
Test-Retest 
Alternate Form 
Split-Half 
Item-Total 
Inter-Coder 
Reliability Statistics 
Validity 
Knowing What You Are Measuring 
Face Validity 
Criterion Validity 
Predictive Validity 
Concurrent Validity 
Construct Validity 
Convergent Validity 
Discriminant Validity 
Validity and Reliability Examples 
Problems with Participants and Procedures 
History 
Maturation 
Testing 
Instrumentation 
Hawthorne Effect 
External Validity Threats 
Ecological Validity Threats 
Credibility 
Member Checks 
Data Triangulation 
Credible Data Gathering, Coding, and Writing 
Peer Reviews 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

PART 3: RESEARCH UNDER THE QUANTITATIVE PARADIGM 
Chapter 10: Survey Research 

Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
Why Surveys? 
Survey Research 
Applications of Survey Research 
Survey Research Measuring Attitudes 
Survey Research Measuring Retrospective Behaviors 
Political Polls 
Evaluation Research 
Market Research 
Design Concerns 
Sampling 
Cross-Sectional Design 
Longitudinal Design 
Trend Study 
Cohort Study 
Panel Study 
Measurement Techniques 
Constructing a Survey Questionnaire 
Writing Survey Questions 
Strategies for Questions 
Types of Questions 
Structure and Arrangement of Questions 
How to Choose the Right Format 
Survey Administration 
Researcher-Administered 
Self-Administered 
Interviews 
Relative Pros/Cons of Different Survey Methods 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 11: Quantitative Analysis of Text and Words: Content and Interaction Analysis 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
Exploring Quantitative Content Analysis 
Why Analyze Content? 
Content Analysis Versus Interaction Analysis 
Content Structure 
Distributional Structure 
Interactive Structure 
Sequential Structure 
Content Analysis Logic 
Unitizing 
Sampling Units 
Recording Units 
Context Units 
Sampling 
Random Sampling 
Stratified Sampling 
Systematic Sampling 
Cluster Sampling 
Reliability 
Coder Training 
Inter-coder Reliability 
An Example of the Content Analysis Process 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 12: Experiments 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
What Is an Experiment? 
Independent and Dependent Variables 
What Are Independent Variables? 
What Are Dependent Variables? 
Good Questions for Experiments 
Understanding Experimental Notation and Language 
Observation 
Induction 
Random Assignment 
Terminology 
Designs and Validity 
Preexperimental Designs 
One Shot Case Study Design 
One Group Pretest Posttest Design 
Static Group Comparison Design 
Quasi-Experimental Designs 
Time-Series Design 
Nonequivalent Control Group Design 
Multiple Time-Series Design 
True Experimental Designs 
Pretest Posttest Control Group Design 
Posttest-Only Control Group Design 
Solomon Four-Group Design 
Factorial Design 
Field and Natural Experiments 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 13: Writing, Analyzing, and Critiquing Quantitative Research 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
Now That I Have My Quantitative Data, What Do I Do with It? Statistical Analysis of Quantitative Data 
Know Your Variables, Research Questions, and Hypotheses 
Describing or Summarizing Your Variables 
Measures of Central Tendency 
Frequencies and Visual Representation of Data 
Measures of Dispersion 
Comparing Groups to See if They Are the Same or Different 
Nominal Data 
Ordinal Data 
Interval or Ratio (Scale) Data 
Testing for Relationships (Association) between Two or More Variables 
Nominal Data 
Ordinal Data 
Ratio Data 
Specific Uses of Statistical Analysis 
Content Analysis 
Survey Research 
t-Test Example 
Regression Example 
Experiments 
Chi Square Example 
Analysis of Variance Example 
Writing Quantitative Findings 
General Information about Quantitative Writing 
Elements of the Paper 
Introduction and Literature Review 
RQs or H 
Method 
Results 
Discussion 
Evaluating and Critiquing Quantitative Research 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

PART 4: RESEARCH UNDER THE QUALITATIVE PARADIGM 
Chapter 14: Introduction to Qualitative communication Research 

Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
Qualitative Approaches to Research 
Qualitative Communication Research Paradigms 
Social Science Paradigm 
Social Constructionist Paradigm 
Arts and Humanities Paradigm 
Rhetorical Paradigm 
Interpretive Research 
General Characteristics of Qualitative Research 
Research Questions or Study Objectives in Qualitative Research 
The Role of Theory in Qualitative Research 
Sampling in Qualitative Research 
Data Collection in Qualitative Research 
Observations 
Types of observers 
Types of observations 
What observers observe 
Field notes 
In-Depth Interviews 
Types of Interviews 
Types of Questions 
Interviewing Tips 
Listening in an Interview 
Probing and Clarifying 
Challenges to Interviewing 
Data Transcription 
Challenges to Transcription 
Texts and Artifacts 
Ethics in Qualitative Research 
Human Subjects Protection 
Caring for Participants 
Reflexivity 
Participants as Co-Researchers 
Analyzing and Writing Qualitative Research 
Coding 
Reading the Data and Making Analytical Notations 
Developing a Code List 
Coding your Data 
Card Pile Sort Approach to Coding 
Methods of Categorizing 
Thematic Analysis 
Analysis by Sensitizing Concepts 
Frame Analysis 
Social Network Analysis 
Event Analysis 
Schema Analysis 
Interpretive Thematic Analysis 
Analyzing Qualitative Data 
Writing Qualitative Findings 
Summary or Traditional Method of Writing 
Dramatic or Scenic Method of Writing 
Writing Performance Texts 
Evaluating and Critiquing Qualitative Research 
Ethical Criteria 
Significance Criteria 
RQ Criteria 
Design/Methodology Criteria 
Sampling Criteria 
Data Collection Criteria 
Analysis Criteria 
Writing Criteria 
Credibility Criteria 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 15: Social Science Qualitative Approaches to Communication Research 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
Social Science Paradigm 
Ethnography 
Chicago School of Ethnography 
Ethnomethodology 
Ethnography of Communication 
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Ethnography 
The Role of Theory in Ethnographic Research 
Sampling in Ethnography 
Selecting and accessing a field site 
Ethical Concerns Specific to Ethnographic Research 
Data Collection in Ethnography 
Analysis in Ethnography 
Writing Ethnographic Findings 
Examples of Ethnography 
Focus Groups 
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Focus Groups 
The Role of Theory in Focus Group Research 
Sampling in Focus Group Research 
Data Collection in Focus Groups 
Focus group moderating or facilitating 
Ethical Concerns Specific to Focus Group Research 
Analyzing Focus Groups 
Writing/Presenting the Findings of Focus Group Research 
Scholarly Examples of Focus Group Research 
Industry Examples of Focus Group Research 
Grounded Theory 
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Grounded Theory Research 
The Role of Theory in Grounded Theory Research 
Sampling in Grounded Theory Research 
Data Collection in Grounded Theory Research 
Coding and Analysis in Grounded Theory Research 
Writing Grounded Theory Findings 
Examples of Grounded Theory Research 
Phenomenology 
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Phenomenology 
Sampling in Phenomenology 
Data Collection in Phenomenology 
Analysis in Phenomenology 
Writing the Findings in Phenomenology 
Examples of Phenomenology 
Case Study 
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Case Studies 
Sampling in Case Study Research 
Data Collection in Case Study Research 
Analysis and Reporting Case Study Research 
Examples of Case Study Research 
Discourse Analysis 
Research Questions Addressed by Discourse Analysis 
Data Collection in Discourse Analysis 
Coding in Discourse Analysis 
Writing Discourse Analysis Findings 
Examples of Discourse Analysis 
Conversation Analysis (CA) 
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Conversation Analysis 
Sampling in Conversation Analysis 
Data Collection in Conversation Analysis 
Transcription in Conversation Analysis (CA) 
Coding in Conversation Analysis (CA) 
Writing CA Findings 
Examples of Conversation Analysis 
Qualitative Content Analysis 
Sampling in Qualitative Content Analysis 
Coding in Qualitative Content Analysis 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 16: Social Constructionist and Arts-Based Qualitative Approaches to Communication Research 
Chapter Outline 
Key Terms 
Chapter Objectives 
Social Constructionist Paradigm 
Characteristics of Research Under the Social Constructionist Paradigm 
Autoethnography and Personal Narratives 
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Autoethnography 
The Role of Theory in Autoethnographic Research 
Ethical Concerns Specific to Autoethnography 
Sampling and Data Collection in Autoethnography 
Analysis in Autoethnography 
Examples of Autoethnography 
Critical and Feminist Ethnography 
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Critical Ethnography 
How Critical Ethnography Uses/Incorporates Theory 
Ethical Concerns Specific to Critical Ethnography 
Data Collection in Critical Ethnography 
Analysis and Writing in Critical Ethnography 
Communication Activism and CBPR 
Examples of Critical and Feminist Ethnography 
Holistic Ethnography 
Digital and Online Ethnography 
Appropriate Research Questions for Digital Ethnography 
Ethical Considerations for Digital Ethnography 
Data Collection in Digital Ethnography 
Analysis and Reporting in Digital Ethnography 
Examples of Digital Ethnography 
Arts-Based Paradigm 
Characteristics of Research Under the Arts-Based Paradigm 
Performance Studies 
Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre 
Research Questions Appropriate for Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre 
Ethical Issues in Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre 
Data Collection in Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre 
Analysis in Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre 
Writing Ethnodrama and Ethnotheatre 
Performative Writing 
Examples of Performative Writing 
Poetic Ethnography 
Fiction as Method 
Documentary, Video, or Visual Ethnography 
Other Types of Arts-Based Research Methods 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Chapter 17: Rhetorical Approaches to Communication Research 
Chapter Outline 
Key Words 
Chapter Objectives 
Characteristics of Rhetorical Criticism 
Appropriate Research Questions Answered by Rhetorical Criticism 
Data in Rhetorical Criticism 
Writing Rhetorical Criticism 
Aristotelian Rhetoric 
Narratives and Rhetorical Criticism 
Burkean Criticism 
Cultural Criticism 
Semiotics 
Rhetorical Criticism in the Workplace 
So What? 
Glossary 
References 

Appendices 
Appendix A: Writing Research Proposals 
Appendix B: Sample Informed Consent Form 
Appendix C: How Your Objective, Research Question, and/or Hypothesis Relates to Your Methodology 
Appendix D: Statistics Decision Chart 
Appendix E: Style Manual Summary (APA, MLA, Chicago) 

Index

Christine S Davis

Christine Davis is Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her area of academic expertise is in Communication Studies, specializing in the intersection of family, culture, and health communication. Dr. Davis publishes regularly on topics such as children’s health, end-of-life communication, disability, and qualitative research methods. Her preferred methodologies are autoethnography, narrative, and critical ethnography. She has over 30 years of research and corporate consulting experience, including as owner of a national marketing research firm and executive director of a nonprofit for older adults. She obtained all three of her degrees in Communication Studies. Her BA is from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (more commonly known as Virginia Tech), her M.A. is from the University of North Carolina–Greensboro, and her Ph.D. is from the University of South Florida. Christine has a loving husband, a wonderful daughter and son-in-law, the most adorable grandson ever, and an awesome Sheltie named Maggie. In addition to conducting research and teaching, she loves to sail, hike, jog, and swim.

Kenneth A Lachlan

Ken Lachlan is Associate Professor at the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut. Prior to his academic career, he worked in public radio and television promotions for several years. His research interests include the psychological effects of mass media, health and risk communication, social robotics, and new media technologies. Recent publications have appeared in the Computers in Human Behavior, Media Psychology, and the Journal of Applied Communication Research, to name a few. Ken considers himself mostly a quantitative scholar, preferring experimental and survey methodologies in investigating his areas of interest. He has also served as a consultant statistician for various companies and government agencies. He holds a dual B.A. in Communication and Sociology from Wake Forest, an M.A. in Mass Communication from Bowling Green State University, and a Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State. An avid jogger and diehard hockey fan, Ken lives in Hartford, CT with his wife and their cat.

I LOVE Straight Talk About Communication Research Methods and students do, too! This course MUST engage students, not turn them off! I love your approach. The book delivers on the title's promise by engaging students with a simple conversational style about important complex concepts and issues. My students especially appreciate the copious examples that complement our applied program.I think this will be my third time using your book. Thank you!
Donnalyn Pompper, Associate Professor, Temple University

Straight Talk about Communication Methods is unique in that it is comprehensive in scope, but succinct to allow the undergraduate to read a chapter in one sitting. The authors use illustrations throughout the text that most students can relate to. The text allows the instructor to use the book to supplement lecture, rather than other text books that have been written with the goal of having instructors lecture from the book. The integration of SPSS throughout some of the chapters also removes the apprehension students have with using the program without supervision.
Patric Spence, Univeristy of Kentucky

Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods works wonders with my undergraduate students...especially those especially fearful of anything to do with statistics. It is filled with examples and practical hands-on materials that are a must for anyone hoping to get their students to not only understand research methods but also to actually enjoy it.
Marian L. Houser, Texas State University-San Marcos

Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods is what every research methods instructor and undergraduate communication student needs. It is clearly written, methodologically comprehensive, and contains plenty of examples from published journal articles in the field.
Valerie Young, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Hanover College

I used Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods with my online / independent study course over the summer. I’ve been so impressed - and have heard such great feedback from the students!  I’ll be using this publication in all my future methods courses.
Dr. Emily Kofoed - Assistant Professor of Communication
University of South Carolina Upstate

Related ISBN's: 9781524916138, 9781524920135

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